The college football season is winding down, as bowl games are right around the corner. This year’s postseason is quite significant, being the first year with the 4-team playoff system. Before, the top two ranked teams would play in the BCS National Championship game. Not anymore.
Now, the College Football Playoff committee determines the four teams that will play in the new playoff. The other bowl-eligible teams, who don’t qualify for the playoff, will still have an opportunity to play in a bowl game. Like always.
Towards the end of the season, the committee releases their playoff rankings each week. Currently, the top four teams are: Alabama, Oregon, TCU, and Florida State. In that order. A lot could change, as the season isn’t over. Some teams still have a regular season game to play, and there’s also the conference championships, which have yet to be played.
It’s hard to tell what will happen in the next few weeks, as upsets are very common in college football. But, I have made some predictions on who will get into the 4-team playoff. And here they are.
First, I think Alabama gets in. Alabama’s last game of the season is Missouri in the SEC Championship game. I like their chances. Missouri is a solid team, but they have played a pretty easy schedule. I know the SEC is tough. But they really haven’t played any good teams, being in the SEC East.
Their toughest opponent was Georgia, who beat Missouri 34-0. Other than that, Missouri just played mediocre football teams. I don’t think they have what it takes to beat the hot, talented Alabama team.
So, ‘Bama gets in. Next, I think Oregon gets in. Oregon, led by Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota, has looked really good lately. Their final game, in the PAC-12 championship, is against Arizona. Arizona is the only team who has beaten Oregon all year.
And that’s exactly why I think Oregon will beat them. Oregon wants revenge. It may be a close game, but I think Oregon comes out with a victory, and secures a spot in the playoff. If Arizona (who is ranked 7th in the country) wins, I believe they will make the playoff, as the PAC-12 champs.
Next, I think Florida State gets in. Florida State’s last game, in the ACC Championship, is against Georgia Tech. I actually think Georgia Tech could pull off an upset. It’s very possible. But, I think Jameis Winston will lead his team to victory, and Florida State will claim a spot in the playoff, being the only undefeated team in the country.
Most ESPN experts agree, and think Oregon, ‘Bama, and Florida State will get spots in the playoff. The real problem is the 4th spot. Who will it go to? After the loss of Mississippi State, it’s really between Ohio State, Baylor, and TCU.
Ohio State’s final game is Wisconsin, in the Big Ten Conference Championship. The buckeyes star QB, J.T. Barrett, who passed Drew Brees for most touchdowns in a single season in the Big Ten, is out for the year with a broken ankle.
I don’t think Ohio State will be able to keep up with Melvin Gordon and the Badgers offense without Barrett. I think Wisconsin rolls, and knocks Ohio State out of contention.
Baylor plays Kansas State in their last game. Kansas State is a pretty good team, going into Baylor with a 9-2 record. Their only losses are TCU and Auburn, two very good teams. I think Kansas State pulls off the upset, knocking Baylor out of contention.
That leaves TCU. The Horned Frogs play Iowa State in their last game. Iowa State has a 2-9 record, and are pretty bad. It should be an easy win for TCU, which would have them finish with an 11-1 record.
Therefore, I think TCU gets in. However, if Baylor wins, that’s different. If Baylor and Ohio State both win, there’s a conflict. All three of those teams will have one loss. Regardless of Ohio State, if Baylor wins they should get in.
Baylor and TCU will both be 11-1, and Baylor beat TCU. With the same record, in the same conference, Baylor has the head-to-head advantage. There’s no reason Baylor shouldn’t go over TCU.
So, really, in my opinion, Baylor controls their own destiny. Now, say Ohio State and TCU both win, and Baylor loses. Ohio State would be 12-1, while TCU would be 11-1. Each with one loss, I think TCU deserves to go. They have a more difficult schedule than Ohio State, being in the BIG-12.
So, this is how I see it. Based on my predictions, the 4 playoff teams, in the 1st year of the College Football Playoff, will be: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and TCU. However, the 4th team could be Baylor (If they win), or Ohio State (If they win AND Baylor loses AND TCU loses).
There’s a lot of football left. I’m excited to see how the rest of the games will unfold, and which teams the College Football Playoff committee will put into the playoff! Tune in to ESPN this Sunday at 12:45 ET to see which 4 teams make the 1st ever College Football Playoff.